Pakistan, India to explore new nuclear confidence building

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 24, 2011 10:06 AM
Pakistan, India to explore new nuclear confidence building

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan and India agreed on Friday to work on new nuclear confidence-building measures and expanded trade and travel across the ceasefire line dividing disputed Kashmir.

The agreements were made at a meeting between the two countries' top diplomats, Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir.

The talks made better progress than expected, with India and Pakistan issuing a joint statement and the foreign secretaries appearing at a previously unscheduled joint news conference.

In their statement, the foreign secretaries said that India and Pakistan would work to build confidence over their nuclear and conventional weapons capability.

A meeting of experts would be held "to consider additional measures ... to build trust and confidence and promote peace and security," the statement said.

The foreign secretaries also agreed to hold a meeting of experts to promote trade and travel across the Line of Control, the ceasefire line which divides Kashmir.

"We must help the people of Jammu and Kashmir to connect with each other; to travel, to trade," Rao said at the news conference.

India and Pakistan in February resumed a formal peace process, broken off after the November 2008 attack on Mumbai by Pakistan-based militants which killed 166 people.

After many false starts in peace talks in the past, expectations for the foreign secretaries' meeting had been kept deliberately low in both countries.

(Reporting by Myra MacDonald and Kamran Haider; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)